As we were driving back toward Tucson, I was feeling the temperature rise, bracing myself for the wave of HOT that would be hitting my face as I stepped off the bus for the first time.  Then I realized that it was actually getting hotter on the bus, and it wasn't just my imagination!  So, we find out that our generator (the auxillary power source...things like lights and A/C) was dying and would likely not be worth repairing.

This trip to Tucson was a planned pit-stop to replace a broken side window and make some minor repairs and modifications to Buster (see Buster's very own page on this blog).  What we didn't PLAN was a major, big ticket item replacement!  But God, of course, always has a plan.  In fact it is THE plan, and we sometimes have to adjust our idea of what the plan is to be more in line with His plan. 

So as we set out to find a new generator and the funds to buy it, we settled into a routine of WAITING.  Not the easiest path when you've committed your life to traveling for the next year.  But, again, God in His providence, began showing us what we were "waiting" for.  Over the past few weeks we have been so blessed to be able to spend relaxed time with friends and family, thank supporters and encouragers, serve our church, meet many new people, attend trainings, begin homeschooling, make connections with other ministries, and so much more!

"For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."  (Phil 4:11)  This has certainly become our mantra.  Even in our waiting, we simply long to be in the center of God's will for us, and in it we will be content.
When we left Yosemite and the brilliant 80 degree weather, we headed across the Mohave desert towards Flagstaff to meet our friends.  Oh it is good to have friends that will drive 4 hours to spend the weekend camping with you and your big red bus.

We had some great face time with the Hurtiennes, Maddox, and Wambach clans...mostly around a campsite with lots of hot dogs and s'mores.  Good times.
kids with their lips and mustaches
the charming Wambachs
Here is friend, Joe W, and cute lil' Maggie, their faithful companion.  We had a few hilarious episodes one day.  After packing up all of our stuff, we headed to the Church of the Resurrection where Pastor Maddox was to preach and the lovely Maddox ladies were to sing.  All was going well on the drive there when SPLAT went a watermelon on the floor.  What?  Our first major mess, and what a mess it was.  But we got it cleaned up and made it to church in the nick of time.

Winston was kind enough to recognize our Tucson contingent and invite people to talk to us about Investing Your Talents after the service.  Emily went out to the bus to get some additional flyers to hand out, and when she came back in, Maggie (the Wambach's cute little dog) followed her in!  Apparently Maggie is quite attached to her family and did not like being left in the car - even for church.  She somehow pressed the back hatch release button, and then promptly followed Emily right into church.  So mid-sermon, there goes a cute little dog right across the front of the room - hey! look at that dog - wait a minute!  That's Maggie!  Get her!  Sorry, Pastor, hope that didn't mess you up!

God has blessed us at every church we have attended along the way.  Always a different type of building, a different worship style, different pastors and teachers, but always the same love of Christ and grace extended us in our journey.  We have been the recipients of much kindness and generosity, planned for us by God, who has been leading us on this new adventure from the beginning.  We are so thankful!  It has been particularly interesting to see how different churches "do" Missions.  We are learning all sorts of lessons!

favorite baby

One of our "must see" stops was Yosemite.   It was my (Tina) favorite stop so far.  The best part about this national park is that the whole floor of the canyon is flat and has a winding, paved path all the way around.  It's great for walking or biking, and the meadows are amazing.   The park is serviced by a great shuttle system that cuts down on the traffic, and makes it easy to get around.
El Capitan
Our first day, we parked in the "bus" lot.  Basically a parking lot for tour buses. We apparently qualify.  But our second day...while we were sleeping Joe drove us into the park and found a great spot at a picnic ground.  We woke up parked underneath big trees, just a few yards from the river. 

One of the beauties of living on a bus is waking up to a new backyard (and front yard) every day.   We've awakened to dairy farms, Walmarts, churches, busy cities and national parks.  But the beauty lies in knowing that no matter where we wake up, God has given us that day as a gift.  One of my favorite quotes is "Today is God's gift to you, what you do with it is your gift back to Him."

The Facebook community is vast and nearly limitless.   I was perusing my news feed one day and saw that singer/songwriter Matthew Smith was going to playing at a church in Modesto, California in a few days.  When I check the trusty atlas, look at that!  Modesto is right on the way to our next destination:  Yosemite National Park.  So as we left San Francisco, we headed to Modesto! (this was on Aug 8, if you are wondering...I know, I know, I'm behind!)

About Matthew Smith:
Matthew Smith is an East Nashville singer-songwriter who writes brand new music to centuries-old hymn texts. He is a founding member of the Indelible Grace community, whose work has drawn acclaim across denominational lines.

Matthew played at our church for a conference a few years ago, and he seemed a little shocked that we showed up again at this concert.  

We met some great people at the church, and the pastors there were kind enough to let us park (and plug in) overnight.  These little blessings make life on the bus a little more enjoyable (avoiding Walmart and having electricity in the middle of the night).  A group of the pastors in the area were heading out to Yosemite the next day to hike Half Dome.   We didn't see them there, but they gave us lots of advice on how to get there, where to go, etc.

One of the best connections we have made thus far was Bill Meyer.  He and his wife were sitting behind us at the concert, and when it was over, he leans over and asks us about Tucson.  Huh?  Well, he had seen Max's information on a sign up sheet that was passed around and noticed that we were from Tucson.  Of course the conversation moved on to "what brings you here" and after a half hour of sharing, we left with the promise of further communication.   Within a few days Bill had sent several emails to friends of his that he thought would be interested in hearing more about IYT.  Thank you, God, for Bill!
Elphaba and Galinda
We decided to spend a few days in San Francisco , mostly to avoid  showing up at Yosemite on the weekend.  And to give Emily some "city" time.   Our first order of business was to get in line for the lottery to win tickets to see WICKED  Emily and Joe had seen this musical production in New York, and I was so excited to see it too.  The Orpheum Theater offers about a dozen pairs of tickets via a "lottery" before each performance.  We put our names in and...we didn't get called!  Bummer!  We did meet a very nice couple from Tacoma - the husband was a teacher at a Christian school and the wife was a former Young Life leader.  Needless to say we had a lot in common and plenty to talk about as we waited.

We went back the next day and we DID win tickets for the matinee show, which worked out much better for us because we were staying at an RV Park in the ghetto.  Just kidding...but not really.  Actually Max's name was chosen and he gave the tickets to Emily and me.  We had a great time while Joe and Max toured around SF and the Cable Car museum.  Of course we gorged on sourdough bread and clam chowder.